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Federal, State Officials to Join Biomass Boiler Ribbon-cuttings at Gardiner, Waterville High School
March 14, 2012
AUGUSTA, Maine - Federal and Maine state officials will join local city and school officials this week to celebrate the completion of two energy projects designed to save Maine taxpayer money and create jobs.
Officials with the Maine congressional delegation, U.S. Forest Service, Maine Department of Conservation (MDOC), Maine Forest Service (MFS), under MDOC, and Maine Office of Energy Independence and Security (OEIS) will take part in two ribbon-cuttings on Wednesday to mark the completion of the installation of biomass pellet boilers at the city of Gardiner and Waterville High School.
The two projects, funded both locally and with federal monies from the Maine Forest Service's "Wood-to-Energy Public Building Program," are expected to save the two communities more than $105,000 a year in heating oil costs and create more than 23 jobs in Maine. The projects, which will use Maine manufactured pellets, also support the state’s $4.3 billion forest-products industry.
"We are very pleased that both the city of Gardiner, which is the first Maine municipality to install a modular wood pellet boiler system, and Waterville High School had the foresight to make such significant infrastructure investments," MDOC Commissioner Bill Beardsley said. "Local officials not only are supporting their own residents and taxpayers, but they also are making an important contribution to Maine's forest-product industry and our energy independence."
Beardsley, along with the federal and MFS officials, will participate in the Gardiner event, which will take place at 10 a.m., Wednesday, March 14, at Gardiner City Hall. MFS and OEIS officials will attend the Waterville event later that day at 1 p.m., at Waterville High School.
The State of Maine received $11.4 million in federal funds through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. The Maine Forest Service created the Wood-to-Energy Public Building Program for the purposes of distributing the funds to Maine public facilities with the goals of creating and retaining jobs in Maine, achieving energy savings through wood-to-energy installations, reducing dependence on non-renewable energy resources, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and supporting sustainable forestry.
A total of 22 biomass boiler installation projects, including municipalities, schools, colleges and universities, and a hospital, have been funded through the MFS program.
With a cost of $122,000 and an ARRA grant of $61,000, the Gardiner project involves the installation of two Maine Energy Systems OkoFen wood pellet boilers in a modular structure known as the Energy Box, installed at City Hall by Heutz Premium Pellets of Lewiston. The installation is expected to save taxpayers an estimated $195,000 in fuel costs over the next 25 years.
With an overall project cost of almost $2 million, Waterville High School received an ARRA grant of $750,000 for fuel storage, handling, and conversion to a biomass pellet boiler system as part of its multi-phase energy efficiency renovation plan. The entire project is expected to reduce heating costs by more than 40 percent, according to school officials.
For more information about the Maine Forest Service’s Wood-to-Energy Public Building Program, go to: http://www.maine.gov/doc/mfs/arra/
For more information about the Maine Forest Service, go to: http://www.maine.gov/doc/mfs/
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